Special Reports

March 1, 2014

Noreen Carrocci: Newman University celebrates 80 years of preparing students with new initiatives and academic pursuits

In September 2013, Newman University turned 80 years old and began a year-long celebration of its anniversary.

In September 2013, Newman University turned 80 years old and began a year-long celebration of its anniversary.

Our founders, the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ, along with our faculty, staff, students and growing numbers of alumni, are pleased to commemorate Newman University’s history of service to the Wichita community, the state of Kansas and the world.

We are a Catholic university named for Cardinal John Henry Newman, one of the great scholars and educators of the 19th century. In “The Idea of a University,” Newman describes the purpose of the liberal arts: to inspire critical thinking, to create lifelong learners and to expand the soul.

Newman called for education based on “enlargement,” or the ability to connect ideas and create meaningful conclusions. Newman’s educational philosophy could not be more relevant to the world we live in today — a world that, in the words of Harvard scientist Edmund Wilson, is “drowning in information, while starved for wisdom.”

This is why, in 2011, Newman University launched an innovative — and now nationally recognized — core curriculum built upon Cardinal Newman’s “The Idea of a University.” The Newman Studies Program is built around the principles of active learning, critical thinking and interdisciplinary connections. It blends the best of the traditional liberal arts with the most innovative modern pedagogies to deliver the kind of education that prepares students for the world they will live in tomorrow.

Whether a student is a business, biology, or theatre major, he or she will have this liberal arts foundation that will prepare them for jobs, graduate or professional school.

Outcomes for Newman’s graduates prove the value of our approach to education. In the past 10 years, more than 96 percent of Newman’s applicants were accepted into medical school. Our nursing graduates have achieved consistently high passing rates on the national licensing exam; 100 percent of December 2013 graduates passed the board and secured jobs.

Other Newman graduates also succeed and persist in their chosen careers. We recently learned that 75 percent of Newman’s teacher education graduates are still teaching in the classrooms five years after graduation – well above the national average of 50 percent.

Newman continues to prepare students for the future with new initiatives and academic pursuits. We launched a new Leadership Institute last fall to serve as an umbrella for a number of collaborative initiatives to improve the leadership climate in the region. We have entered into a partnership with the Kansas Leadership Center to offer its curriculum through Newman’s graduate programs in Education and Business.

Just last month we began a new Master’s of Education degree in Organizational Leadership and saw such a strong response to this program from folks in the profit and nonprofit sectors that we have already had to expand our offerings.

In a whole different arena, our Radiological Technology faculty saw a need and developed an online certificate program in Computed Tomography (CT scans) that we will begin to offer next fall.

In recent years we have seen commentaries questioning the value of a college degree. The Pew Research Center released a report just last week indicating that for 25 to 32 year olds, the gap in earnings for those with a college degree compared with those with just a high school diploma has never been greater — about $17,000 for 2012.

And what if you major in humanities or social sciences compared with professional and pre-professional majors? Recently, the American Association of Colleges and Universities (www.aacu.org) released a report showing that in the early years, the former do earn less. However, by midcareer, the liberal arts and sciences majors catch up and, ultimately, earn higher median wages on average.

So, my advice always is to go to some form of higher education and major in what you find most appealing. We at Newman are proud to provide employers and graduate schools with graduates who can think critically, reason effectively, write clearly and see the big picture.

This is why Newman students have and will continue to succeed for the next 80 years.

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